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Spicy Slow-Cooker Beef Tacos with Cranberry Salsa

Spicy Slow-Cooker Beef Tacos with Cranberry Salsa

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Easy, slow cooker beef tacos topped with seasonal cranberries!MORE+LESS-

Updated December 10, 2015


packet Old El Paso™ mild taco seasoning mix (I used spicy)

1-2 tablespoons sriracha (I used 2)


(12 ounce) beer or beef broth (I used pumpkin beer to add to the seasonal taste)


cup sweet Thai chili sauce

6-8 Old El Paso™ flour tortillas, warmed

cheddar cheese or cajita cheese, for serving

diced avocado, for serving



jalapeño, seeded and chopped


cup fresh cilantro, chopped

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  • 1

    Heat a large heavy bottom skillet over medium-high heat and add the olive oil. Add the ribs to the skillet and sprinkle with brown sugar, salt and pepper. Sear the ribs on all sides for about 1 minute per side. Remove the ribs and place them in the slow cooker crock.

  • 2

    To the crock, add the Old El Paso taco seasoning, sriracha, beer, sweet Thai chili sauce and soy sauce. Cover the slow cooker and cook on low for 7 to 8 hours (or 4 to 6 hours on high). Remove the short ribs from the slow cooker and shred them with two forks. Return the meat to the slow cooker to keep warm until serving.

  • 3

    To make the salsa, add the cranberry sauce to a mixing bowl. Add the jalapeno, cilantro, lime juice and a pinch of salt if needed. Taste and adjust to your liking.

  • 4

    When ready to serve, warm the tortillas in the microwave or over the stove. Stuff with short ribs and top with the cranberry salsa. Add a sprinkle of cheese and some diced avocado and serve immediately.

Expert Tips

  • If you do not have a slow cooker, the ribs can be cooked in the oven instead: Preheat the oven to 325°F. Heat a large heavy bottom skillet over medium high-heat and add the olive oil. Add the ribs to the skillet and sprinkle with brown sugar, salt + pepper. Remove from the stove and add the remaining ingredients minus the tortillas, cheese and avocado. Cover the pot and place in the oven for 2 1/2 to 3 hours or until the ribs are tender. Shred with a fork and serve as directed.

No nutrition information available for this recipe

More About This Recipe

  • The taco meat makes itself in the slow cooker. Top with cranberry salsa and you've got one yum of a dinner.

    So, can we chat for a little about Thanksgiving leftovers?

    You see, my family almost never has any. And if we do, the boys eat all the turkey, gravy and mashed potatoes before I can even get a chance to turn them into another fun meal.

    I guess this is good since all the food gets eaten, but still, every year I buy a bigger turkey, make extra gravy and double the mashed potatoes in hopes of having a ton of leftovers – and every year it’s the same deal.

    Everything goes at lightning speed ... except the cranberries.

    I mean, what do you expect? I live in house full of boys. They could care less about the cranberry sauce, so I almost always have some left over. Then I started thinking: tacos are a staple meal around here and the boys love them. I love the combo of savory and sweet ... maybe I could combine some sweet cranberry salsa with some spicy beef short rib tacos.

    The result is a sweet-heat recipe made in taco heaven.

    Ok, so let’s make some! Gather up your ingredients.

    Heat a large heavy-bottom skillet over medium high-heat and add the olive oil. Remove the ribs and place them in the slow cooker crock.

    To the crock, add the Old El Paso taco seasoning, sriracha, beer, sweet Thai chili sauce and soy sauce. Cover the crock and cook on low for 7 to 8 hours (or 4-6 hours on high) stirring once or twice if possible.

    After 8 hours, remove the short ribs from the crockpot and shred them with your hands or two forks. Return the meat to the crockpot and keep warm.

    Gather the ingreidents for the salsa.

    Add the cranberry sauce to a mixing bowl. Taste and adjust to your liking.

    When ready to serve, warm the tortillas in the microwave or over an open flame. Add a sprinkle of cheese and some diced avocado.


Slow Cooker Ground Beef Tacos

My absolute favorite slow cooker ground beef tacos recipe. Did you know you can prep dinner in only 5 minutes or less?

Taco night is a favorite in our household. Everyone has so much fun interacting at the dinner table and building the perfect taco combination while we laugh and eat.

Top 10 CLEAN EATING Freezer Meals eBook

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On top of this being an insanely delicious dish, it is also insanely easy to make. I am not a big fan of anything taking away from my time so I am all about freezer meals.

Not the kind of freezer meal that requires hours of cooking to have your food ready though. No I am talking about the kind of freezer meal requiring no prep besides throwing some chopped up ingredients into a bag. Takes 5 minutes and you have a dinner ready to be cooked.

This slow cooker ground beef tacos recipe is sure to be a new favorite.

Not only is making things easier important but so is eating healthy.

Healthy eating doesn&rsquot have to be expensive though. It can be super affordable, for years we have had a super tight budget and managed to enjoy steaks, beef, chicken, vegetarian, and many other types of dinners and cuisines.

Sweet & Spicy Jalapeno Cranberry Sauce – Simple and Beautiful

It’s so easy to make! Just throw everything into a large saucepan and cook for 20 minutes. Then pour it into a dish with a lid, pop it in the fridge, and it will thicken up perfectly as it cools. You can make this yummy Sweet & Spicy Jalapeno Cranberry Sauce up to a week in advance. Also, IF you have leftovers, mix it with some cream cheese for the most delicious dip! It’s even better than “cranberry salsa” if you’ve ever had that.

My goal with creating this recipe was to come up with a homemade cranberry sauce that wasn’t just decoration on a Thanksgiving table. I wanted it to be on equal playing field as the Green Bean Casserole or Stuffing. A sauce that gets EATEN for once! This recipe absolutely meets the goal and I guarantee this will be smothered on everyone’s pile of turkey at your table.

Speaking of turkey, stay tuned for next week because I have the most amazing casserole for you to make with your leftover turkey. Make sure to buy a big one because you’re going to want to make it!

Sponsored post for Lee’s Marketplace. Items on sale the week of November 17-30: Fresh cranberries, brown sugar, granulated sugar, ground ginger, salt

A Mexican Classic – Machaca aka Slow Cooker Beef Brisket Straight From #TheKitchen

For dinner or for Cinco de Mayo, make this Mexican classic – Machaca aka Slow Cooker Beef Brisket. Packed with flavor and a hint of spice, this fork tender Mexican beef brisket will be a family favorite!

Disclosure: This post may contain affiliate links to products I trust and adore in my kitchen. Thank you for supporting Cooking In Stilettos.

Do you ever see a recipe that you just HAVE to make? This Machaca here – it has haunted me since Saturday.

Every weekend I have a routine. On Saturdays, I plot out the recipes for the week while I watch Food Network’s latest show, The Kitchen. I have to tell you – I was hooked since the premiere. For those that haven’t watched the show, it’s Sunny Anderson, Marcela Vallalodid, Katie Lee, Geoffrey Zakarian and Jeff Mauro talking, cooking and spotlighting all things food. Even the Jr. Sous Pug was transfixed one day when Katie Lee brought her pug on the show. Anywhoo – this week they were talking about one pot meals and Marcela demo’d this amazing Slow Cooker Beef Brisket recipe known as Machaca. Now – y’all know I love to break out the slow cooker whenever possible and this recipe seemed simple enough. Next thing I know, I’m googling the recipe, printing it out and adding the ingredients to the grocery list.

Now – I have to tell you a couple things. First of all, this may be a set it and forget it recipe but it does need a bit of planning. You need an overnight marinade followed by a quick sear on the stovetop and then nestling in the slow cooker for a long day’s nap. Secondly, while I do like a touch of heat, I am a spice WUSS so when Marcela broke out the serrano chiles, I decided that I’d go with the jalapeno action instead. I loved how the brisket essentially made its own warm salsa of sorts and the leftovers – let’s just say I have burritos on the menu for lunch, some Machaca Mac ‘n Cheese and perhaps some Machaca Quesadillas planned for the next couple of days while we face yet another snowmaggedon.

So – if you are looking for a bit of culinary inspiration – you might want to check out The Kitchen – who knows what recipes you might find. If you love brisket and Mexican flavors – you will definitely want to make this recipe.

Gather your ingredients

Time to come out of the marinade

Nestle into the tomatoes, onions and peppers

To quote Sunny Anderson – “Fork Tenda!”

Viola – now – this, my friends, is beef brisket goodness!

Recipe slightly adapted from Marcela Valladolid

Machaca takes beef brisket to new heights. Marinated and then slow cooked in the slow cooker, this fork-tender brisket with a hint of spice will be a new family favorite and couldn’t be easier to make!


Need is a strong word. But when it comes to food and recipes, I am convinced you NEED this go-to, easy, crazy delicious Slow Cooker Shredded Mexican Chicken at your fingertips. In fact, it is the only all purpose, Slow Cooker Shredded Mexican Chicken you will ever need! It joins the cast of my other stellar back-pocket Mexican staples of Tacos Al Pastor, Carne Asada, Slow Cooker Pork Carnitas, Baja Fish Tacos, Beef, Bean and Cheese Burritos, Chicken Fajitas, Steak Fajitas, Green Chile Chicken Enchiladas and Slow Cooker Barbacoa Beef. And of course, every one needs a killer Chicken Tortilla Soup recipe.

After all, tacos, burritos, nachos, tostadas, chimichangas, enchiladas, etc. are only as good as the meat and this Mexican Chicken is stellar. It will be the star of your Mexican dishes and bonus! – it is super easy and fabulous for make-ahead or even freeze-ahead meals. Use the chicken plain in your recipes or top them all off with Guacamole, Homemade Salsa, Salsa Verde or Pico de Gallo for an added layer of YUM!

The perfectly flavored chicken cooks in a Mexican spiced bath of salsa, green chilies, diced tomatoes, brown sugar and a splash of liquid smoke.

The chicken cooks until its fork tender, then shredded and added back to the seasoned juices to re-absorb the flavor in every crevice.

At this point, you drain any excess liquid. I like to save the seasoned liquid to cook my rice in like I first did in my Slow Cooker Fajita Chickenso good – some of the best rice you will ever eat! The chicken is perfect as is for tacos/burritos or if you are serving plain over rice, I love to stir in some enchilada sauce. It is also fabulous with Restaurant Style Mexican Rice or Cilantro Lime Rice with Black Beans.

But don’t wait, your taste buds want you to make this chicken now! or tomorrow, or as soon as humanly possible…

Slow Cooker Mexican-Style Shredded Beef

Let’s just be honest here, a lot of Mexican-ish dishes get prepared at our house, A LOT! So combining the love of Mexican food and the slow cooker, I present to you: Slow Cooker Mexican-Style Shredded Beef! When we’re talking Mexican food, we enjoy it all, corn & flour tortillas, tortilla chips, guacamole, cheese … well, you get the idea! I just knew this recipe was going to be the basis for some delicious meals, I couldn’t wait to try it out. The beauty of this recipe is that you start by slow cooking a beef roast, letting it get all tender and juicy while slow cooking away. After it has soaked up delicious flavors along the way , you’ll shred it up and use at will, however you desire. What I personally did was slow cook and shred the beef on one day, package it up into Rubbermaid containers, refrigerate, then used it later in the week for both beef nachos and then shredded beef tacos. Both the nachos and tacos were flavorful and a HUGE step up from the standard ground beef versions.

Now if you enjoy your food on the spicier side, feel free to add additional spices, cayenne, hot sauce, or more chili powder to the recipe. As I’ve mentioned before I have little kids and keep things a tad milder, in hopes that they’ll actually eat what I prepare. Psst…the 5-year-old tried the tacos, we didn’t get a thumbs up or a thumbs down, but she did try! Mommy win! So spice it up if that’s what you prefer! The chipotle pepper does add a tiny bit of zing to the shredded beef, but nothing hot by any means. If you aren’t familiar with chipotle peppers, start embracing them! They have a rich smokiness which adds another flavor dimension into your cooking. Whatever route you take with this deliciously tender beef, think about pairing it up with a great side dish such as Roasted Corn Salsa and for mom and dad a Spicy Mexican Martini, it will definitely hit the spot.

This dish is part of our “ 7 Meals in 1 Hour ” Slow Cooker/Freezer meals post! Click HERE for all the recipes!

Slow-Cooker Dinner Recipes

If there is a more helpful appliance in a kitchen, we don’t know what it is. The slow cooker is as useful in summer as it is in winter, since you can use it for anything from breakfast to dessert, with so many easy dinner main dish options in-between. We love the fact that it doesn’t heat up the kitchen in the summer. So browse our slow-cooker chicken recipes, then meander over to slow-cooker chili and slow-cooker lasagna. And finish off a celebration meal with a Slow-Cooker Double Chocolate Cake for dessert. Check out our slow cooker tutorials for info on getting the most out of your slow cooker.

If there is a more helpful appliance in a kitchen, we don’t know what it is. The slow cooker is as useful in summer as it is in winter, since you can use it for anything from breakfast to dessert, with so many easy dinner main dish options in-between. We love the fact that it doesn’t heat up the kitchen in the summer. So browse our slow-cooker chicken recipes, then meander over to slow-cooker chili and slow-cooker lasagna. And finish off a celebration meal with a Slow-Cooker Double Chocolate Cake for dessert. Check out our slow cooker tutorials for info on getting the most out of your slow cooker.

Slow Cooker Recipes for Hot Summer Days

Who wants to sweat in front of the steamy stove (or even the grill?!) when the sun’s beating us down? We’re already slow-cooking outside — on the beach, poolside, and when we scramble for the shady spots while strolling around town. Whipping out your slow cooker during the dog days of summer might seem counter-intuitive, but hear us out.

You don’t have to be within 10 feet of your Crock-Pot while it’s cooking, unlike your stovetop and all those other cooking implements. Toss the ingredients inside the pot, cover, press go, and then proceed to drape yourself across a lounge chair in the shade with a cool glass of iced tea or sangria. See? Slow cookers are so summery. Check out Guide’s Best Slow Cookers of 2017. Our Chowhound team test kitchen concocted these slow cooker recipes so you don’t have to break a sweat, while cooking at least:

Have a vegetarian in the family or just want to do without meat for dinner? Make these Slow Cooker Quinoa-Stuffed Peppers to serve as a meatless main. They are stuffed with flavors like salty feta and herby scallions. Get our Slow Cooker Quinoa-Stuffed Pepper recipe.

Skip heating up that grill and cook this BBQ brisket while you sleep overnight. This smoky brisket is covered in an addictive sweet-savory sauce and served best between a bun. Get our Easy Slow Cooker BBQ Beef Brisket recipe.

This is a summer dish you may not have even realized you need. This spicy chicken chile verde is packed with flavor from the garlic, onions, peppers, and tomatillos. Serve with a side of rice or black beans. Get our Slow Cooker Chicken Chile Verde recipe.

This is perfect for a summer party. Cooking the pork for an extended period of time results in juicy and tender meal. This also freezers beautifully if you end up with leftovers. Get our Slow Cooker Pulled Pork recipe.

If you have grilling foods on the mind, then baked beans have to make an appearance. These beans are slow-cooked in a spicy molasses sauce for a sweet and spicy kick. Get our Easy Slow Cooker Baked Beans recipe.

If traditional baked beans aren’t your thing, try out the pinto. These beans are full of heat and will make the perfect side to your barbecue menu. Get our Slow Cooker Ranch-Style Pinto Beans recipe.

Speaking of sides, try these greens. No Southern-style barbecue is complete without a helping of flavorful greens. Get our Slow Cooker Collard Greens recipe.

Tired of ketchup and mustard? Keep your hot dogs interesting with this relish. Similar to salsa, this spicy relish works great on hot dogs, burgers, and even tacos. Get our Spicy Relish recipe.

Peaches’ peak season is during the hottest parts of summer, so use your slow cooker to whip up this peach dessert. By using the slow cooker, you avoid turning on your oven and heating up your kitchen. Don’t forget the ice cream when serving this! Get our Slow Cooker Peach Crumble recipe.

The recipe for this pudding is just what you need to whip up a dessert with minimal effort. A great part about this recipe is that you probably already have most of the ingredients on hand. Get our Slow Cooker Rice Pudding recipe.

If you prefer desserts with chocolate, then try out this cake recipe. We were just as shocked when we found out we could make delicious cake in the slow cooker! Avoid turning the oven on during the warm months with this simple Slow Cooker Chocolate Cake recipe.

Slow Cooker Salsa Chicken Tacos

I’m not a fan of Taco Tuesday. It’s too limiting.

In our house, every day has the potential to be a taco day. Olivia shares my taco obsession (#proudparent). You can pretty much put anything on a tortilla and she’ll happily gobble it down for dinner. Her favorite part is putting on all the toppings. And let’s not lie… that’s every adult’s favorite part as well.

Even better is that these Slow Cooker Salsa Chicken Tacos are just 3 ingredients and take 5 minutes to prep. That’s a HUGE win when it comes to weeknight dinner. There’s such a small window between when we get home from Olivia’s after school activities (who knew a 3-year-old could have such a packed social calendar) and when bedtime rolls up on us, so quick and easy taco dinners are totally helping us win at this parenting thing.

My love for tacos isn’t new. They are SO versatile. I’ve created a ton of taco recipes over the year (you’ll see a bunch of them listed at the bottom of this post for some extra taco inspiration), a nd now these Slow Cooker Salsa Chicken Tacos. I’m so excited to welcome them to the family!

Just check out how easy it is to make the salsa chicken.

The longest part is literally taking the slow cooker out of the cabinet!

A neat trick I learned along the way is to always spray the inside of your slow cooker with nonstick cooking spray before cooking in it. This makes washing it after a BREEZE! Then just add in the chicken, salsa, and taco seasoning, give it a good stir, and let it do its thing!

I’m not using just any salsa for these Slow Cooker Salsa Chicken Tacos. These tacos call for CHI-CHI’s® Fiesta Style Smoky Chipotle Salsa ! It’s the perfect blend of jalapeño peppers, chipotle chiles, roasted onion, garlic and tomatoes.

We’re no stranger to the CHI-CHI’s® Brand in our house! They are just as passionate about taco dinner time as we are! They’re all about creating fun and festive occasions with its delicious Mexican foods, including crowd-pleasing salsas, tortillas, and chips. The perfect celebration doesn’t require a lot of time or money to plan with CHI-CHI’s® —just their tasty food, some lively entertainment and, of course, your friends and family. And you better believe CHI-CHI’s® Brand products make it easy and convenient to add festive flavor to any dish with quality ingredients, including real tomatoes, vegetables and flavorful seasonings.

You can find CHI-CHI’s® Fiesta Style Smoky Chipotle Salsa at your local grocers throughout the North East such as Price Chopper, Topps Markets, Hannaford, Acme Markets, Redner’s Market and Giant Eagle!

When it comes time to top your Slow Cooker Salsa Chicken Tacos, don’t be shy. We went with a classic combo of sliced avocado, chopped cilantro, and crumbled queso fresco for ours. With the smoky and slightly spicy chicken, the avocado adds creaminess, the cheese a salty kick, and cilantro that fresh bite.

But there’s PLENTY of other topping options to get creative with. Hot sauce, sour cream, guacamole, corn, black/pinto/refried beans, lettuce, cheddar cheese… the list goes on and on!

One of my favorite TIPS for next level tacos? Take the time to heat your tortillas properly. Sure, you could just wrap a stack of tortillas in a dampened paper towel and pop ’em in the microwave for a bit to get the warm (or wrap in aluminum foil and heat in the oven), but you’re missing out on that little something extra to elevate your taco game. Heat up a dry skillet over medium/medium high heat. Once it’s nice and hot, add your tortillas, one at a time, for a few seconds per side. Your goal is to get the toasty brown spots that you see on the tortillas in these images. It really makes a huge difference!

Watch the video: How To Make Barbacoa. Barbacoa de Res. Slow Cooked Beef Recipe (August 2022).